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Food is a human right and a fundamental requirement for survival. By 2050, the world must feed more than 9 billion people. This interdisciplinary subject introduces students to complex challenges in meeting the growing human population's increasing demand for healthy and nutritious food in the face of mounting pressures on natural resources and climate change. Globally, nearly 800 million people still suffer from chronic hunger, and more than two billion from micronutrient deficiencies.
On the other hand, unhealthy foods and food environments worldwide are leading to an increased burden of morbidity and mortality due to obesity and other non-communicable diseases. Global food insecurity has surged among the covid pandemic and climate change-associated natural disasters. Moreover, geopolitical conflicts affect the productivity and sustainability of food systems and global food supply chains.
Meeting the global need for more food while constrained by increasingly challenging climatic conditions and limited resources will be a global challenge in the coming decades. There is an urgent need to develop the systems of food production, distribution and consumption that are sustainable and resilient in the face of mounting climate and population challenges.
The transformation of the food system to provide sufficient and healthy food urgently requires innovative solutions that will draw on knowledge and skills from the many disciplines of Science, Humanities and Social Sciences. This subject will emphasise multidisciplinary holistic thinking, which considers the relevant underlying causes of the problem and the social, environmental, and economic impacts of the potential solutions to achieve transformational changes.
Eminent experts from different faculties and invited speakers will teach students from the full range of disciplines in arts, biosciences, nutrition, medicine, public health, agricultural science, and economics, plus practitioners from the food, nutrition, farm industry and natural resource sector.
Intended learning outcomes
On successful completion of this subject, students should be able to:
- Identify challenges for sustainable, resilient and equitable food production and supply in context of a changing climate and new technologies
- Explain how global food security is impacted by culture, geopolitics, global conflicts, and economic policy
- Relate food wastage to its global environmental, economic, and social impacts
- Critically evaluate and discuss the social and commercial determinants of health and how they influence product development and dietary choices
- Discuss how food histories and politics have shaped national and cultural identities
- Debate the role of technology and media as key drivers of change in food preferences
- Discuss the evolutionary changes in human dietary preferences, and how the health impacts of these can be applied to improve current health outcomes
On completion of the subject, students should be able to:
- Think critically and integrate interdisciplinary knowledge
- Derive, interpret, and analyse information from primary and secondary sources
- Demonstrate both written and oral communication skills
- Participate in a discussion group and develop a logical argument to support a particular position
- Participate effectively as a member of a team
- Plan work, use time effectively and manage projects and tasks
Last updated: 20 February 2024